Supreme Court: The 3-judges Bench comprising Dr. D. Y. Chandrachud, C.J., and P.S. Narasimha, J.B. Pardiwala, JJ., stayed the Kerala High Court’s order directing a woman in same-sex relationship to undergo counselling sessions.

The petitioner-appellant had approached the High Court seeking a writ of habeas corpus while alleging that she is in a same-sex relationship with the detenu who is kept in illegal detention by her parents (the detenu’s).

The High Court directed the District Legal Services Authority to visit the residence of the detenu and record her statements to ascertain whether she is under illegal detention and produce her before the Court if allegation of illegal detention turns out to be true. By a further order, the High Court directed the detenu to attend a counselling session in an authorized counselling centre over the next four or five days.

Contesting the aforesaid order of the High Court, the petitioner-appellant submitted that such an order directing the statement of the detenu should be recorded by the Secretary of the DLSA when she was under the confines of her parents would not serve the purpose. The petitioner-appellant alleged that the direction for the detenu to attend counselling sessions is fundamentally erroneous.

The Court, while issuing notice, directed the following:

  • The Court directed the parents of the detenu to produce her before the Family Court at Kollam by 5 pm on 08-02-2023.
  • The Principal Judge of the Family Court was directed to arrange an interview of the detenu with Ms Saleena V G Nair, a Member of the E-Committee of the Supreme Court and a senior judicial officer from the State of Kerala.
  • Ms Saleena V G Nair was directed to submit a report (in a sealed cover) after interacting with the detenu; ascertaining her wishes and whether she is voluntarily residing with her parents or is kept under illegal detention.
  • The Principal Judge of the Family Court and Ms Saleena were further directed to ensure that the statement of the detenu is recorded in a fair and free manner without any coercion or duress from the parents.

Meanwhile, the Court stayed the impugned order as well as the further proceedings before the High Court. The matter is listed on 17-02-2023 for further hearing.

[Devu G. V. State of Kerala, 2023 SCC OnLine SC 112, decided on 06-02-2023]

Advocates who appeared in this case :

For Petitioner(s): Sriram Parakkat, M.S. Vishnu Sankar, Athira G Nair, Aditya Santhosh, Arislal Sainu, Joseph D Tharrayil, Advocates.

*Kamini Sharma, Editorial Assistant has put this report together.

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